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Containment Cap  (Source: CNN)
Two-day testing will reveal if it is effective or not

After nearly three months of trying to contain the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico with containment caps/domesrobotic submarines, the "top kill" effort, and tools to transport oil up to ships like the riser insertion tube tool (RITT), which have all failed to completely stop the leak, BP is now placing a new cap over the well in hopes of finally containing the oil for good.

The new 18-foot, 150,000-pound cap was placed over the well with robotic arms on Monday and tests are being run to determine if this is the right procedure for the job. So far, oil is still flowing from the upper section of the new cap, but BP said they expected this to happen until the company begins "well integrity tests" today. BP noted that they don't expect any oil to be released during the test, but that this doesn't indicate that the flow of oil has been stopped permanently. 

The test is expected to take anywhere from six hours to two days, but it's possible for the tests to be extended even further. The data gathered during the tests will be shared and reviewed with "relevant government agencies." According to retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, scientists will be checking the pressure inside the well and will then determine if the cap is containing the oil or if they will need to continue siphoning oil to ships at the surface. 

Allen hopes that the new containment cap can close down the valves and hold all of the oil, but BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles mentioned that it's important to first make sure there is no hydrate buildup. A huge problem in the process of placing the new cap is the possibility of new damage to the blowout preventer. 

The new containment cap has brought some new features to the table, such as allowing four collection ships instead of three (which is what the old cap allowed) to siphon oil, if oil collection is still needed after today's tests. According to BP Senior Vice President Kent Wells, 60,000 to 80,000 barrels of oil could be collected a day over the next two to three weeks if oil collection is still part of the containment process, thanks to the addition of an extra collection ship. Recently, Helix Producer ship was placed with the Q4000 collection ship and together, they are expected to gather up to 33,000 barrels of oil per day. 

In addition to new containment caps and more collection ships, a new moratorium order issued by the U.S. Interior Department is doing its part in preventing any more disasters like this from happening. 

The new moratorium is to "protect communities, coasts and wildlife" by making oil companies establish safety measures in order to reduce the risks of oil spills and blowouts in the future while deepwater drilling. This is the U.S. Interior Department's second effort to diminish deepwater oil and natural gas projects.

A previous ban after the Gulf oil spill was thrown out by a federal judge, but after a federal appeals panel "rejected the government's request to overturn the lower court judge's decision," the U.S. Interior Department issued a new order that supersedes the previous one. 

This new ban would be in effect until November 30, 2010 or until deepwater drilling operations are deemed safe by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Such a ban would insure that deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico would be suspended until the oil leak is resolved and officials can figure out what went wrong April 20 and what to do to prevent it in the future.

"More than eighty days into the BP oil spill, a pause on deepwater drilling is essential and appropriate to protect communities, coasts and wildlife from the risks that deepwater drilling currently pose," said Salazar. "I am basing my decision on evidence that grows every day of the industry's inability in the deepwater to contain a catastrophic blowout, respond to an oil spill and to operate safely.

"I remain open to modifying the new deepwater drilling suspensions based on new information."



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RE: Die BP
By BZDTemp on 7/13/2010 4:56:29 PM , Rating: -1
Well how about putting the blame where it really belongs - and by this I mean the consumers. I have seen no one carrying for where the oil comes as long as it is cheap.

Almost nobody says to government that waging wars over oil is wrong or demand the oil companies disclose what the environmental impact is from producing oil. Most people just want more drilling and strip mining be it anywhere but in their front garden. I hope that at least this mess make people wake up and see there is a downside to the life style of consuming but I know that is a pretty naive hope. It is so much easier to blame someone else rather than looking in the mirror.


RE: Die BP
By Dorkyman on 7/14/2010 1:28:56 AM , Rating: 4
So I'm to blame because I drive a Ford SUV? Don't think so.

Oil is a natural resource. Millions of barrels are extracted every day without incident and without environmental damage. The BP fiasco was apparently an operations error made much more serious (in hindsight) because of equipment failure and the extreme depth of the project. It will be fixed and a few years from now the oil contamination will be gone, or nearly so.

Oil is a marvelous energy source, and via technology we have lots of it. We don't need to turn our thermostats down or ride our bicycles to work.


RE: Die BP
By BZDTemp on 7/14/2010 9:43:22 PM , Rating: 1
Just what makes you think that oil extraction does not do environmental damage on a regular basis?

It may not make the headlines on show it self directly on the beaches but thinking oil production is a clean business is unfortunately a mistake.

Here is a link to a real tree huger site on the subject: http://www.earthworksaction.org/contaminantpathway...

Also please spend a few moments with google and you will find more on the problems.

PS. You may also like to google "peak oil" and then you'll learn we do not have lots.


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